|The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840 by Benjamin Robert Haydon|
The purpose of this blog is to explain what ordinary general meetings were when I first became a member and before CIPA became a CPD points machine. Members of the profession gathered together to discuss matters of interest to the profession. This would generally be by a chaired debate with some prepared paper followed by discussion from the floor. In this way members of Council were able to learn the views of the profession. Topics on which policy needed to be formed could be debated. A certain amount of learning would take place especially if the papers were well prepared. The papers were published.
It was also important that these meetings were open to everybody. They did not require additional fees. They did not come with free beer, but members might adjourn to a local public hostelry. However now that element is all that remains and without the initial food for thought, we are just left swigging gin and discussing Christmas plans.
When voting for council members, it was always important to see how many OGM they had attended. Were they in touch with the membership?
Now it came to pass that firms of patent attorneys were less keen on their staff departing from the office to attend such early evening meetings. Gradually only unmarried partners would attend and as attendances fell off and the programme planners failed to plan programmes we have what we have now, an OGM that is simply for admitting new members.
Mr Davies would like to rewrite the Charter and bylaws so that he can admit new members without an OGM
If we are to believe the essential truth behind other parodies of council meetings, we must begin to wonder how CIPA is a representative body.
Fortunately, there are other intellectual property organisations such as AIPPI UK that do have meetings that discuss IP policy and developments and no doubt the membership will defect to those.
The default reasons for membership belong mainly to the young who are aspiring to qualify - hence the decision to bring the informals inside the dying shell. The patent examination board and IPReg will continue but one has to doubt the viability of the body that founded them if it doesn't meet. There can be no body without its members and if there is no membership, then the officers have no authority (and no funds).